How is she reading?

I read this Article which pulls apart  how teachers teach learning to read.  This is not just relevant to America, it even mentions Marie Clay who was an important part of what we learnt at teachers college – the horrible running records. I was taught to teach the “three cueing” method. When I was a nanny in Scotland one of the children I looked after started school and they were doing jolly phonics, there was a song and actions, all the characters had names. I found it weird, I guess it was meant to be fun. A lot more recently when were picking up kids from school they would bring home the same jolly phonics sheets. Helena collected some, they had colouring in. She liked and played with rhymes for a while. We have one of these to refer to, I always assumed for writing.


We did talk about the sounds letters make, usually around writing, which she hates. I thing spelling is like putting the dishes away which is so much harder than getting them out – in reading we do have other cues.

I thought I’d see what skills Helena was using when reading. I gave her a list of words – I wasn’t sure how many she’d know.

  • hesitate
  • tremendous
  • tarpaulins
  • longevity (didn’t know this word)
  • understood
  • volunteer
  • moisturising (doesn’t think this is a word)
  • incognito (didn’t know this one)

I made the list up. Her comment on hesitate, which she didn’t hesitate over, was that when she was little she would have read it hes-i-tat-e (said the e). Tarpaulins she said tar-paul-ins. The words she didn’t know she broke into chunks long-ev-ity, it didn’t sound quite right but was understandable. She said moi-st-uri-sing forst then changed to moist-uri-sing. In-cog-nito was also passable and when she heard what it means she was delighted with it and intends to use it. I guess she was learning phonics in her head when she was rereading and rereading Madeline.

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